Monday, January 23, 2012

The Spy, Time Riders, Clementine, and the Year of the Dragon!!!

Happy Chinese New Year. Now all of us who have been procrastinating getting started on our New Year's goals can start, and even though we're late, we can claim that we are just being "cultured".

No, seriously. This week has been busy for me. Work has been hectic, we're training 1,2,3,4,no, 5! Yeah, 5 new people. Replacements for people who have gotten fired, quit, disappeared into a bottle, who knows(and no, I don't mean like a genie). So good news for Obama. The government under him can claim five more new jobs. That's what the government does, by the way. They record how many people we hire in a year, but not how many end their employment in that same time period. Then they report to their superiors that there are new jobs being created.

And we wonder what's wrong with our government.

I managed to write two more chapters in my current project, Kelekot. It wasn't all that I wanted to get done, but I did manage to write a really cool scene, so I'm happy with it.

I finally got around to reading The Spy by Clive Cussler. I say finally because, like many of my books, I get them when I see them, but then they go on my reading list which is, give or take, some 50-75 books long at any given time. Trying to work to cut it down, but I'm not really making progress there.
Anyway, The Spy is the third installment in the Isaac Bell series, about a Pinkerton-style detective in the early 1900's. The first two books took place in 1906 and 1907, and traveled all over the railroads that made this country the industrial giant it became. In book three Bell departs from the railroads, and the book focuses on the dreadnought race unfolding among the nations of the world. President Roosevelt has sent the Great White Fleet around the world, but most know that it is already obsolete. Europe is gearing up for war, and new and ever more impressive designs of battleships are being developed.

But someone is killing off the great minds behind the development in America, making them look like accidents. But Bell is not convinced. He sets about an investigation that will cross the nation and bring him back again to New York, and to the street gangs that run it. Time is running out and he has got to find the person, the spy, that is behind all these murders and stop him.

Really good read. I love all of them. Cussler blends a great story with a part of American history that is so rich in heritage that it makes for a fantastic adventure.

Time Riders by Alex Scarrow, I wish I could say, was as good. When I first saw Time Riders, I was excited. It sounded so cool. But, as the feather duster in Disney's Beauty and the Beast states, "I've been burned by you before." So, I downloaded the sample chapters on my nook. And loved it. Absolutely. The beginning was so strong, I was stoked. So I downloaded the rest, and, well. I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong. This is a good book. It just wasn't the great book that I thought it was going to be. It got a little dry through the middle, some of the time travel stuff didn't make sense, and I kind of got tired of the characters that seemed a little shallow.

It's about three kids, all from different times. All of them, seconds before they are to die, are recruited to join this top-secret agency that polices time.

Just as they are recruited however, someone from the future decides to go back in time and teach Hitler the error of his ways. This in turn allows the Nazis to win and history to dramatically change. The race is on. The three of them must find the moment when time was tampered with, find the one who did the tampering, and eliminate him. Period.

There were a lot of things I did like from this book. Elements of The Time Machine, with a morlock-like civilization, a look at what might have happened if Hitler hadn't made the mistakes he did, and, of course, a character that takes on a surprising similarity to Captain America.

So, it was a good book. It's not long, and the story is cohesive and entertaining, if not amazing. I feel bad judging it like that, but it's the way I feel.

The third book I read was Clementine, by Cherie Priest. Fun book, entertaining, and full of steampunky goodness.
The story follows Captain Croggon Hainey as he struggles to regain command of his dirigible that was stolen in Boneshaker, the first book in Priest's Clockwork Century Series. It's a great story of sky pirates, Pinkerton detectives, and an alternate look at the American Civil War, one in which the south manages to create a twenty-something year stalemate. Very cool.

This was a solid adventure story. The characters were strong, and I liked it more than the first book, Boneshaker. The pacing was better and the book moved. Had a lot of fun with it. Moving on to the third book, Dreadnought, this week. More to come.

Off to work now, seize the day and all that. This is the year of the dragon though, so at least that's something to look forward to.

Good hunting.  


  1. Those Clockwork Century books are a lot of fun, once you realize that it's just going to be an adventure/western treatment, and not a super complex story like some steampunk stories.

    Like reading a L'Amour, in a lot of ways. More about the character and the world than the plot. Boneshaker didn't do a whole lot for me but Clementine was a lot of fun and Dreadnought was great.

  2. Agreed. Looking forward to reading the others in her series.